Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Alan North's Second Act

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
I wish, I wish he'd go away...
Source: Hughes Mearns.
On Sunday, Alan North announced a petition drive for a referendum on the direct election of the mayor of Richardson. Is he in to win this time? Or will he pull a second disappearing act?

After the jump, how's it going? No, seriously, how is it going?

Has anyone seen him around this week? He should be easy to find. He'd be the man outside the civic center holding a clipboard, soliciting early voters to sign his petition. Neither he nor anyone else with the newly formed organization, "Richardson Citizens For A More Democratic Government" were on site Monday, but reportedly they got their act together on Tuesday. Second hand information (now third hand for you) is that someone was interfering with their efforts to collect signatures. Are there people who wish he'd just go away?

To force a referendum, he needs to collect signatures equal to 5% of Richardson's qualified voters (that would be 2,500 to 3,000). How many people does he have collecting signatures? How many signatures did they collect during the first few days of early voting? It'll be interesting to see how open and transparent this effort is in reporting their progress.

What happens if they succeed in, first, getting enough signatures to force a referendum, and then, second, getting enough support to pass the referendum? According to North's petition, instead of electing council members from Places 1-7, Richardson citizens would elect council members from Places 1-6 and a mayor. There would be no more executive sessions where the newly elected council members secretly deliberate over whom to choose as the mayor and the council's presiding officer.

I guess this kinda, sorta, makes the current council member from Place 7 (the place that's going away in favor of a mayor) our city's first directly elected mayor. Let me be the first to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Mayor Amir Omar. There's something fitting about that, as Omar was the only council member who didn't vote last February to deep six this charter amendment. Now, it's he who is sitting in the presumptive mayor's seat.

No comments: